Just under a week since in Smithtown, Dr. Jerome Nadler was released from Stony Brook University Hospital on Wednesday with a positive prognosis as he heads to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson for rehabilitation.
Nadler, a retired physician from East Setauket, after he went on a fly fishing outing by himself on the Nissequogue River.
"What started out as a simple fishing trip ... ended up being almost a tragedy," said Nadler, who said Wednesday that he doesn't plan to go fishing by himself again.
The doctor who treated him, Dr. Frederick Schiavone, said a case of extreme dehydration caused Nadler's muscles to begin to break down – a condition known as rhabdomyolysis – which in turn caused some kidney damage and other health problems. Nadler's body lacked approximately 12 liters of fluids when he was found. Unable to walk, he had also tried moving by leaning on one elbow, which caused painful cuts and scratches.
"This is [an] incredibly wonderful moment," Schiavone said. "I was asked the first time, 'Is this a miracle?' I can now say with much more assurance that the miracle was that he was found when he was found. Had he been out there longer, even hours, it would have been a much different outcome."
Nadler said he drank two Diet Cokes after he began to feel dehydrated, and doesn't remember much else. Some reports said he was conscious when he was found, though he couldn't remember clearly being conscious when Chase, a police dog, and officer Samuel Barreto found him.
"For four days I was in la-la land because of being dehydrated," Nadler said. "... It had rained twice, and I put my hands around my mouth and tried to collect as much rainwater as possible to try and hydrate myelf. Apparently, we needed more rain."
Nadler thanked his physicians and said he received "some of the best care in the world" at the intensive care unit in Stony Brook.
His wife of 53 years, Nancy, also thanked religious leaders at Chabad at Stony Brook for their support. As her husband was wheeled through the hospital lobby, she paused to reflect on what those four days were like when he was missing.
"The thought was I wasn't going to have my husband again, and it scared me to death," she said. "We're attached at the hip. This time we weren't, but next time we will be."